Welcome to the first episode of my “Nagano Trip”!!!
First of all, I would like to thank those who have been waiting for this blog since the last one and to those who are visiting for the first time, Big Welcome! and let’s explore Japan together. Like I promised last time, this series of Nagano blog posts will get you to know about this amazing place in Japan in detail; like literally everything that you need to know and you can follow my plan if you want too.
“Matsumoto Castle” is one of Japanese castles that has been considered a Heritage Site in the country with a history of more than 500 years. It was built in 1593 which was during the period of war between several kingdoms in Japan. So technically, it is more like a fortress than a castle. It is also called “Crow Castle” by the locals due to the structure and color of the rooftop as it is similar to a crow.
It is recognized as one of the most beautiful castles in Japan,such as Himeji Castle, Osaka Castle and Nagoya Castle. So, you cannot say that you have seen all of the castles in Japan until you visit this one.
Matsumoto Castle is located at JR Matsumoto Station, in the middle area of Nagano Prefecture. It is actually below Nagano City (the red dot), so please be careful of the name.
Tokyo Station —＞ Nagano Station （Hokuriku Shinkansen) 1 hr. 30 minutes
Nagano Station —＞ Matsumoto Station (LTD. EXP SHINANO) 50 minutes
First, we depart from Tokyo Sta. by Shinkanen (Green Line), heading north to Nagano Sta. (Red Dot). Then, we have to change to Local Express Line there, heading south to the castle.
Which Pass can you use?
- JR PASS All Area Click>>>
- JR EAST PASS (Flexible 5 Days) Click>>>
- JR EAST PASS-Nagano, Niigata area (Launched 1 April 2016) Click>>>
- JR Hokuriku Arch Pass (Launched 1 April 2016) Click>>>
These passes are the unlimited tickets that allow you to travel to the castle. For the first two passes, you have to purchase it before you come to Japan. For the other two, you can buy them in Japan.
As for those who have a long-term visa, don’t worry! You can purchase the “Tokyo Wide PASS” which allows you to ride on Shinkansen from Tokyo Sta. to Sakudaira Sta. in Nagano Prefecture (furthest station that you can go by this pass). After that, you have to purchase tickets to Nagano Sta. and another from to Matsumoto Sta. I added some details in my previous blog. You can check that out.Click>>>
Nagoya Station —＞ Matsumoto Station (LTD. EXP SHINANO) 2 hrs
We use the same Express Line as above but this takes more time.
Arriving at Matsumoto Station…
Try to find “Castle Exit” and there will be a Tourist Information Center for you to get some maps. This station is quite large, so there are coin lockers and souvenir shops available for you. Don’t worry, take a rest. You are probably tired at this moment.
Okay! After getting some preparation, let’s go the castle! You can follow this map and it takes around 15 minutes by foot.
Follow the main street and turn left at the intersection (Cross Mark). There is a stone statue “Yebisu”, so please look for that. Then, just keep going forward and cross a bridge and you will arrive at your destination.
Around the City
Matsumoto is not that big of a city, so it is not that crowded. You will be able to see local architectures from bygone days, temples and museums. Actually, if you plan to visit Matsumoto Castle, why don’t you spend one day sightseeing around here? There are a lot of things for you to see beside the castle.
and here comes our highlight ！！ Matsumoto Castle!!!
Around the Castle
It is surrounded by a large garden and pond which takes some time to walk around the area. Let’s go and see the awesomeness of this place, shall we?
The Red Bridge behind the castle, this is the highlight spot for you to capture fantastic scenery.
Here is a picture of the main entrance to the castle, isn’t it so huge?? It is tot just the castle that is huge, but also the cat fish in the pond. I am sure that if they are hungry, they could eat my whole hand lol.
Let’s go inside the castle!
There is an entrance fee and it will be cheaper if you come in a group.
Japanese people love stamping everywhere they go,so let’s follow them haha. Inside, there is a gallery about all the castles in Japan. Enjoy!
Here we are in front of the castle!
Inside the Castle
There are 6 floors which they used to keep all of the Samurai armor and weapons during the period of war. Along the wall, there are very small windows which they used to shoot arrows or to throw rocks at their enemies. The entire castle is made from wood, so the floor is quite cold in the winter. You will see so many historic things and learn the history behind them.
I tried to reach out my arm and took this picture from that small window!!! The scenery is spectacular!
Between each floor, there are very steep stairs, so please be careful of that . So many people fell down here.
All of the historic items are preserved very well. I will learn about how the Samurai went to war in the past such as what kinds of weapons and technology they used. Did you know that Japanese women helped their husband make bullets during war? Isn’t that romantic? Lol!
At the top of the castle, you will see all the scenery from every direction.
In every direction, you will see views of the mountain range so called “Japan Alps”. It is so cool!
Let`s try Local Food!
Japan is famous for making everything cute. You can take pictures with Matsumoto-Kung, the mascot of this castle.
You should try “Oyaki” (おやき). It is Baked Bread with fillings inside such as chicken, wasabi pumpkin and more!.
Just one more shot before going back
One last shot…
Okayy! It is time to wrap up our trip. Did you like it? For me, it is my favorite castle in Japan so far. I recommend to visit this place if you plan to visit Nagano. It is a must-see!!! I hope you enjoy this trip like I did.
If you have any questions or any suggestions, feel free to massage me any time at H.I.S Live Chat System. That’s all for today and I hope to see you guys in the blog Jigokudani (地獄谷) : Snow Monkey Onsen !!
Visit my previous blog about Nagano Prefecture